Negotiating News #9 — Only a few issues remain; employer seems unwilling to negotiate

Your Negotiating Committee met with the employer’s bargaining team last week on Oct. 27 and 28. Progress was made on some issues, with the employer removing their request for post-tenure review and agreeing to investigate the feasibility of installing electric car charging stations on campus, and both parties agreeing to hold mediation sessions twice a year in an effort to resolve outstanding grievances.

At this point, there are essentially four issues outstanding that MUNFA members identified as priorities: collegial governance/transparency, improvements for contract faculty, workload improvements, and salary. The employer has rejected the first three, and has only just committed to responding to MUNFA’s salary proposal on November 9, despite MUNFA presenting it nearly six months ago. See below for more details about these proposals.

There are only a few issues remaining, and so far, the employer has shown no interest in meaningfully discussing them. It is important for you to understand that while the two parties are not at an impasse yet, unless something changes at the conciliation table during the next meeting (Nov. 9-10), they appear to be headed that way. There are three more sets of conciliation meetings set for November, but it is unclear how much can be accomplished there given the employer’s response up to this point. Stepping up pressure on the employer now, with as many members taking action as possible, is crucial to demonstrate MUNFA members are united behind these demands.

What can you do?

  • Sign this letter expressing your support for the Negotiating Committee, and calling on MUNL to make a deal at the conciliation table. More than 100 of your colleagues have signed on already. Once you’ve signed, talk to your colleagues about signing. When a majority of MUNFA members have signed on, representatives will present this letter to the employer.
  • Get your red shirt ready on Nov. 10! To show the university community that MUNFA is united in our demand for a fair contract, members will wear MUNL red on Thursday, Nov. 10 and Nov. 17. (Add this event to your calendar for a handy reminder.)
  • Sign up to be a liaison for your department. Liaisons are a critical point of communication between members and the Negotiating and Executive committees. During bargaining, the principal role of liaisons is to ensure that members in their department know about developments in bargaining, and to relay members’ concerns and issues to the Contract Action Team, who co-ordinate with liaisons. Email Tannara Yelland at for more information or to sign up as a liaison.
  • Join the Contract Action Team to assist in co-ordinating the work of liaisons and developing organizing plans. Email Tannara Yelland at for more information or to join.
  • Register for the upcoming conciliation updates on Nov. 10 and 16, and Dec. 1. Links to registration pages are available here.

Bargaining update

Similar to the previous conciliation meeting in September, your Negotiating Committee held an update for members on Friday afternoon. More than 100 members attended, and of those attendees, a clear majority expressed support for the Negotiating Committee’s proposals and for prioritizing improvements to contract faculty job security. It is long past time for MUNL to begin treating contract faculty with respect and dignity.

The contract faculty proposals that MUNL has rejected include improved conversion language, and extending conversion to Teaching Term Appointments; longer contracts for four- and eight-month appointments that properly remunerate members for work they do before the semester begins; and language to ensure that TTAs who have worked at MUNL for years are given an interview for relevant tenure-track positions if they meet the job requirements. The employer cited budgetary concerns in rejecting these proposals, but they also alluded to wanting to be able to attract the best and brightest for new positions — an implication that they do not consider currently employed contract faculty to fit this description, and a clear sign of the level of respect the employer has for the workers who make this university run.

The employer also rejected a number of proposals aimed at improving the workload of tenured and tenure-track faculty, including: setting teaching norms at 4 across all academic units; requiring a minimum proportion of ASMs in each academic unit to be tenured/tenure-track, a minimum proportion of contract faculty hired as Regular Term Appointments, and a minimum proportion of courses taught by MUNFA members. MUNL also rejected the creation of a joint committee to make recommendations on climate action.

In solidarity,
MUNFA’s Negotiating Committee:

  • Jon Church, Medicine (Co-Lead Negotiator)
  • Nicole Power, Sociology (Co-Lead Negotiator)
  • Dan Duda, QE II Library
  • John Hoben, Education
  • Nathalie Pender, Grenfell Campus
  • Janna Rosales, Engineering & Applied Science
  • Ken Snelgrove, Engineering & Applied Science
  • Travis Perry, MUNFA Labour Relations Officer (non-voting member)
  • Dale Humphries, MUNFA Labour Relations Coordinator (non-voting member)